Summer Surrender

“Sometimes we just can’t do everything, Mom!”

That’s a fairly direct quote from my friend Charlene’s youngest child.  She was three years old when she dropped that wisdom bomb on her mother.  They must have been having a pretty hectic day, but my friend took time to call me and share that sage advice.  I laughed.  What does a three year old know about life?  Apparently quite a bit more than I do.

A few weeks ago, I was out for an early morning run.  The air was cool, damp, fragrant with the smell of ocean and marsh grass.  A lavender tint washed the horizon as I sprinted down the hill toward Pebble Beach and I soared on the scent and the glow.  As I rounded the corner, I drew a sharp breath.  A fawn stood on the ocean side on the popple hedge of the beach.  She faced the wild rose bushes across the narrow road and her slender long legs trembled slightly when she saw me.  She turned her head and her narrow nose pointed in my direction.  Her wide brown eyes grew wider as I continued my approach.  I wanted to stop.  I should have stopped.  I ran.

She bolted for the roses, crossing so close to me I could have touched her soft flank if I had reached out my hand.  I ran.  For the rest of the route, I kept marveling at having had the opportunity to see the fawn.  Right there on Pebble Beach!  I couldn’t wait to rush home and tell my daughter.  I couldn’t wait to write about it, to share how I felt for those few seconds when she and I looked into each others’ eyes and shared the urge to run.  Me, because that’s what I do.   Her, because a crazy person was running right toward her— a panting, sweaty stranger who came out of nowhere.

I burst into my house, eager to tell whoever was awake what I had seen.  I told my husband, who was already settled in to to work at his computer.  I told my daughter, who had just tumbled out of bed and was fixing her coffee.  I told my son, who was on his way to work.

I hit the shower, dressed, and began the day.

Since my last blog, I have run 114 miles.  I have surrendered to my new boss— the garden— and spent hours and hours digging, weeding, and hefting truckloads of barrels to the dump.  I have cleared out my mother-in-law’s closet with my son’s help, (“I feel like the Grinch, Mom”), and helped him move into her house for the summer.  My husband and I have stolen as many beach days as possible, packing picnic lunches and books and boogie boards.  Friends have been to visit; there are more to come.  I found myself crying during the July 4th Fireman’s Parade in Rockport when the bagpipers marched by, missing the days when my husband’s parents took us to the parade after a quick supper.   That meal always ended with eating cold slices of watermelon from the back porch.  The children stood at the edge of the railing, competing to see who could spit the slick, black seeds the farthest into the driveway.

I return home from my run each morning soaked with sweat.  Once my husband asked me if I had been standing under someone’s sprinkler.  “Nope.  That water’s all mine.”  The humidity changes everything, making my steps sluggish, forcing me to carry a water bottle that sloshes and keeps me from working on my stealth running.  (That’s another story for another day.)  All this and I miss writing.

This morning I saw an egret.  Its small whiteness stood out in sharp contrast against the tall green reeds in Cambourne Pond.  I stopped running, turned off my iPod, and tip-toed along the tiny path leading to the pond.  The bird’s reflection mirrored flawlessly in the still water.  The swan family paddled along the opposite bank, their tranquil morning breakfast hour interrupted occasionally by the quacking of the dozen ducks flirting with the shoreline.  I stood and watched, my breath slowing, my heart rhythm returning to normal.

Balance.  Surrender.

Sometimes we just can’t do everything.  We do what we can.

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